The protein known as Nrf2 plays a key role in cell health. When Nrf2 is exposed to threats, it oscillates faster and activates an increase in the cell’s defense mechanism, including raising the levels of antioxidant. Paul Thornalley, from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), and colleagues have observed that sulforaphane in broccoli, and quercetin in onions, are capable of increasing Nrf2 movement.
Observing a continual movement cycle of Nrf2, which sees the protein oscillate in and out of the cell nucleus once every 129 minutes, the team found that sulforaphane and quercetin sped the cycle up to 80 minutes. Writing that: “We discovered cytoplasmic refresh rate of Nrf2 is important in maintaining and regulating the transcriptional response and links stress challenge to increased cytoplasmic surveillance,” the study authors aim to develop new food supplements – superfoods that stimulate Nrf2 activity.
Xue M, Momiji H, Rabbani N, Barker G, Bretschneider T, Shmygol A, Rand D, Thornalley PJ. “Frequency modulated translocational oscillations of Nrf2 mediate the ARE cytoprotective transcriptional response.” Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Sep 2.